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Sitta-? Of this I never obtained a specimen, although they were exceedingly common among the rocks behind the old ruined city of Candahar; they frequented rocks, however, and not trees, and I venture to term it a Nuthatch on account of the similitude in plumage, size, shape, and motions ;--the bill appeared to be short, strong, pointed and black; the upper parts light slaty grey-blue, with a black stripe through the eye from the forehead or base of bill; under parts buff or ferruginous white. With the exception of appearing larger, it is very like a Nuthatch we have seen at Mussooree. [Temminck, if I remember rightly, gives a S. saxatilis, from Eastern Europe.]
61. Tichodroma muraria, (L.) This beautiful little bird was very common on the rocks near Candahar, and in other parts of Afghanistan. It is identical with the European and Himalayan birds.
62. Malacocercus (Huttoni, n. s. (p. 476, ante.)] Common.
63. Columba intermedia, Strickland. Common blue Pigeon. Abundant; breeding in wells and ruins.
64. Turtur risorius, (L.) Common during the summer. 65. T. suratensis, (Lath.) Common during the summer.
66. Phasianus colchicus, L. This specimen was sent to me from Herat, by Lieut. North of the Bombay Engineers : it is said to be not uncommon in the neighbourhood of that city. [Unfortunately, it is not a typical example of its race; having much white upon its wings (which have been clipped short), and a considerable proportion of the rest of its plumage resembles that of an old or barren English hen Pheasant, that had thrown out the masculine plumage, as is not unfrequently the case : the more perfectly formed feathers proper to the male sex resemble those of an English cock Pheasant; and the rich bronze-rufous of the rump and upper tail-coverts is wholly unmixed with green. The size is that of an English hen bird; but the spurs on the tarsi resemble those of a young cock.]
67. Tetraogallus (caucasicus, (Pallas), apud G. R. Gray : T. himalayanus, G. R. Gray; T). Nigellii, J. E. Gray. These fine birds are common in the Huzarrah mountains and other high ranges ;—they are called Kowk-i-durra, or Partridge of the gháts or passes. Sometimes they are sold in the markets of Cabool. I possessed four living birds at Candahar, which were kept with wings cut in a large courtyard, and lived well for many months, I gave them to a friend, Capt.
M’Lean of the 67th Regt. N. I., who wished to take them home to the highlands of Scotland, but he unfortunately died on his way back to India, and I know not what became of the birds. They are common on the snowy passes of the Ilimalaya and in Tartary, rising in coveys of 10 to 20, and usually having a sentry perched high on some neighbouring rock, to give warning of danger by his loud and musical whistle. They are difficult birds to shoot. I found them usually in patches of the (so called] Tartaric furze.
68. Perdix ? [Bonhami (?), Fraser, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1813, p. 70. The Seesee Partridge: figured in the Bengal Sporting Magazine' for October, 1843.] Frequents rocky situations, and is abundant. The first were seen in the Bolan Pass. (Capt. Hutton has sent no specimen of this bird; but I suspect it to be the species described by Mr. Fraser, late of the Zoological Society, and which was procured at Teheran, I took the following description of the Afghan Seesee from some fine specimens prepared by Capt. Duncan of the 430 Regt. N. I., who brought the bird alive from Afghanistan, and kept one up to the time of his departure for England in the beginning of 1845. The figure in the • Bengal Sporting Magazine' was taken from his living specimen.
“This seems a remarkable species, connecting true Perdix and Perdicula with Caccabis, and I think Lerwa, or the IIimalayan Snow Partridge (L. nivicola, Hodgson) : it does not, however, well range in either, though it is probable that other species will be eventually found with similar characters. * The tarse of the male are devoid of tubercles in place of spurs.
“Length about 10 inches; of wing 5in., and tail 2 in.; bill in., and tarse 1 in., the middle toe and claw 1 in. Colour of male, isabella-brown above, with little trace of. markings, though each feather of the back when raised is seen to have several pale dusky cross-rays ; on the rump, these become obsolete or very nearly so, except along the shaft of each feather, where they assume the appearance of a series of small linear blackish spots : upper tail-coverts and medial tail-feathers minutely but obscurely mottled, the three or four outer tail-feathers
It should be remarked that I had no opportunity of actually comparing the Seesee with other species. It has probably an affinity with the Tetrao kakerlik of Gmelin ; and Mr. Fraser writes, of his P. Bonhami,—“This species is nearly allied to P.Hayi, Temm. p.C., but is readily distinguished from that bird by the black stripes about the head of the male.” Mr. Fraser neglected to give the admeasurements of his P. Bonhami.
uniform light chesnut-brown, a little mottled at tip, and each successively more so to the middle ones. Crown ashy, the feathers brown. ish at tip; and cheeks and throat purer ashy, becoming albescent towards the chin : ear-coverts silky-whitish, pure white anteriorly towards the eyes, as are also the lores ; and above the lores, eyes, and ear-coverts, is a black streak meeting its opposite across the forehead : the sides of the neck are mottled ; the breast uniform isabella-brown, having a shade of lake, the feathers margined with faint russet; and those of the flanks may be described as whitish tinged with lake, the larger passing into black along each lateral border, and the smaller edged inwardly with chesnut-brown, and some of them with black at their extreme margin: under tail-coverts pale chesnut: primaries light dusky within, their outer web isabelline, with dusky bars and pencillings. Bill and feet pale red.
“ The female is much more mottled both above and below, and is devoid of the grey on the crown and throat, of the black supercilium, and of the characteristic markings of the flanks : but there is a pale streak from the eye along the side of the occiput. Upper parts light dusky, rayed with isabelline, the darker portion of the rump feathers blackish along their shafts; the coronal feathers are similarly rayed, but present a mottled appearance at their surface; and the tertiaries are prettily variegated, presenting a serio of isabelline spots along their middle : entire under-parts minutely mottled, paler on the throat and belly, and presenting on the flanks indications of the white central portion of the corresponding feathers of the male. A young chick, with pale sandy-coloured down on the head, back, and under parts, has the scapularies and wing-feathers minutely mottled sandy, with triangular pale spots on the scapularies and tertiaries, and conspicuous dark bars on the outer webs of the primaries.”
This bird inhabits “rocky places covered here and there with brushwood, and feeds much on wild thyme. They are found in coveys, and when sprung, rise with a startling noise like our Bush Quails” (Perdicula rubiginosa and P. cambayensis.) “Sportsmen reckon them easy to kill, and it is said that they are delicious eating. The name Seesee expresses their call ;"* which last statement militates against the sup
Bengal Sporting Magazine.
position of the identity of this bird with the Kakerlik, which is also named from its cry.
69. (Caccabi8] chukar, (Vigors). Very common among the hills. “ Chowk.”
70. [Francolinus vulgaris, Stephens, pale (individual ?) variety.] This was brought to me as a true Black Partridge (Fr. vulgaris), but it is evidently distinct, and is probably the Perdix pallida, Gray, of Hardwicke's ' Illustrations. The Black Partridge is called “ Taroo" by the Afghans; but as I never saw a specimen killed during a two years' residence in the country, I am inclined to think that the bird so called is the one here alluded to. [Perdix pallida, Gray, is evidently a pale variety of Francolinus pictus, (Jardine and Selby,) or P. Hepburnii, Gray, as that systematist places it, viz. “P. Hepburnii, var. pallida.” Capt. Hutton's bird I consider to be an analogous (and probably individual) pale variety of the female Fr. vulgaris.
71. Coturnix communis, Bomaterre. Quails arrive about the end of March, and in summer when the crops are ripening are very numerous. They are then snared in nets by the aid of a decoy whistle, and are kept singly in cages for fighting, of which sport (?) the Afghans are extremly fond, every urchin being seen with a Quail in his hand during that season.
rage for gambling is so great among the people, that instances have been known of a husband pawning his wife to pay his gambling debts, and if not punctually redeemed she becomes the property of the holder, and is either kept or sold as he plcases !
72. [Pterocles arenarius, (Pallas.) Khyrgut, or Syah-reem; also called Tuturuk in Pushtoo, expressive of the bird's cry; and Bovra kurra, or “ black breast.” Burnes figures both sexes, from Cabool : and the Society possess an Afghanistan specimen.]
73. Pt. exustus, Tem. Common throughout the southern parts of Afghanistan. I have seen their nests on the bare ground in August, and the young ready to fly by the end of September. They occur also in Scinde, and in the Bhawulpore (or Daoodpootra) country. “Sasseenea.”
73, a. Struthio camelus, L. Ostrich. This bird is said by the Afghans to inhabit the great southern desert which skirts Afghanistan and runs onward into Persia. I suspect, however, the story has arisen from the circumstance of its eggs being brought round viá
Scinde from Bombay : these are hung up in tombs and mosques. None of my informants had ever seen the bird. Called “Shooturmoorgh," i. e. “Camel-fowl.”
74. [Houbara Macqueenii, (? Gray.)] These handsome birds are common on the bare stony plains of Afghanistan, and sometimes occur in small packs of five or six together. They fly heavily, and for short distances, soon alighting and running. They remain all the year. [The “Dugdaoor," or Afghan Bustard. According to Burnes, “one foot nine inches high, and forty-two inches from tip to tip.” It essentially resembles H. Macqueenii, Gray, of the outskirts of the Scindian and other deserts of western India, except in the particular of possessing a remarkable crest; falling under the subdivision Houbara of the Prince of Canino, which is distinguished by the splendid ornamental tufts that adorn the sides of the neck in both sexes, by the shortness of the legs, &c. The only other known species is the Otis houbara, auct., of Spain and Barbary, now ranging as H. undulata, (Gm.)
A superb male, kindly lent to me some time ago, by Capt. Duncan, measured about 30in. in length, of which the tail measured 10in. ; wing 15 in. ; bill to forehead izin., and to gape 2 in. ; tarse 3 in. Head beautifully crested, a series of lengthened slender feathers rising along the central line of the forehead and crown, and continued to the occiput; the foremost of them shorter than those immediately following, which latter to above the region of the eyes measured 3in. and upwards in length, and were remarkably firm in texture towards their base, and moderately so near the tips, while those behind them to the occiput, where they gradually diminish, are of much softer and hair-like texture, with disunited webs: these latter are wholly pure white; and the former are white, with the terminal fourth black and soft, the foremost of all having their extreme tips mottled buff, like the shorter and ordinary feathers directly above the base of the bill. The sides of the neck have also handsome ornamental tufts, divided like the crest into two series : a broad band of silky black feathers (from 1} to 2 inches long) commences below the ear-coverts, and extends for some distance down each side of the neck, and behind the lower half of this is thrown out the first or upper series of beautiful neck plumes, which are 6in. long, and have the basal two-thirds white, with scanty hair-like disunited webs, and their terminal portion expanded and spa